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What We Read Today 06 June 2015

Econintersect: Every day our editors collect the most interesting things they find from around the internet and present a summary "reading list" which will include very brief summaries (and sometimes longer ones) of why each item has gotten our attention. Suggestions from readers for "reading list" items are gratefully reviewed, although sometimes space limits the number included.

This feature is published every day late afternoon New York time. For early morning review of headlines see "The Early Bird" published every day in the early am at GEI News (membership not required for access to "The Early Bird".).


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Articles about events, conflicts and disease around the world


  • The Lawsuit Machine Going After Student Debtors (Bloomberg Business)  We have "robo-signing 2.0".  Remember the mess with debt ownership for mortgages when the ownership of mortgages could not be tracked because of improper and missing legal documentation?  In some cases courts vacated foreclosures because the forecloser could not prove legal standing.  Well, our geniuses in the financial system have created a similar mess with student loans:

In 2003, Adam Beverly borrowed $30,000 from Bank One, now owned by JPMorgan Chase, to help cover the cost of attending Ohio State University. He never graduated. Three years later he found himself being sued by National Collegiate Student Loan Trust, which claimed he owed more than $45,000 with interest and penalties. After a two-year court struggle, Beverly prevailed. In September a panel of Ohio judges said the collector had no evidence that it owned the debt and vacated the judgment. 


  • EU's Juncker snubs Greek PM after 'absurd' debt deal rebuff (Reuters)  The European Union's chief executive declined to speak to Greek Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras on Saturday after the leftist leader rejected as "absurd" international creditors' terms for a cash-for-reform deal to keep his country from default.  An EU official said European Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker, who has tried to bridge the gap between Athens and its lenders, refused to take a telephone call from the Greek premier since there was nothing new to discuss.  A Greek government official denied the report and referred to what is in the next article.
  • Tsipras to Meet Hollande, Merkel as Varoufakis Seeks Debt Relief (Bloomberg)  Greek Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras plans to meet German Chancellor Angela Merkel and French President Francois Hollande again to discuss a financial lifeline as his finance minister Yanis Varoufakis joined him in rejecting a new creditor offer.  Tsipras said the offer was “clearly unrealistic”.   The meeting will take place 10 June.  Varoufakis told Proto Thema newspaper:

“As finance minister, I’ll refuse to put my signature on a deal.  We will not sign a deal that extends this self-feeding crisis of the last five years.”


  • Ships rush to rescue thousands of migrants stranded in Mediterranean (CNN)  The migration crush from Africa to Europe continues.  As of 6:45 p.m. (12:45 p.m. ET), an estimated 2,500 people had been rescued, according to the Italian Coast Guard officer, though that didn't mean many more people weren't still stuck and in danger.  The Libyan coast guard returned at least one boat to Tripoli.  The prospect of migrants being in jeopardy in the Mediterranean is serious but hardly surprising. People from impoverished and war-torn countries such as Syria, Somalia, Sudan and Eritrea have been taking to the sea to reach Europe in especially large numbers of late, often putting their fates in the hands of smugglers.  Many times they haven't made it; some drowning in capsized boats and others dying of exposure and dehydration.


Saudi Arabia

  • Yemen crisis: Saudi Arabia 'shoots down' Scud missile (BBC News)  Saudi Arabia has shot down a Scud missile fired from across the border by Yemen's Houthi rebels and its allies, the state Saudi Press Agency says.  It was intercepted by a Patriot missile battery near the south-western city of Khamis Mushait.


  • Timeline:  The Iraq War (Council on Foreign Relations)  Slide show (which is terribly depressing, but we should all have to review it at least once a year).


"Only an insane person and only in a dream can imagine that Russia would suddenly attack Nato."

South Korea

  • South Korea reports 9 new MERS cases (Al Jazeera)  The outbreak of Middle East respiratory syndrome (MERS), which has infected 50 and killed four so far, has stirred public fear.  The new cases occurred for people already in quarantine so they do not represent a spread of the disease.


  • India and Bangladesh seal land-swap deal (Al Jazeera)  Agreement signed in Dhaka to allow people living in stateless border enclaves finally to choose their nationality.  Under Saturday's deal signed in Dhaka, 111 enclaves will be transferred to Bangladesh and 51 to India.

Why Spain and Other Eurozone Countries Aren’t Feeling the Recovery: Why Spain and Other Eurozone Countries Aren’t Feeling the Recovery (Christopher Bjork, The Wall Street Journal)  Spain, and even more so Italy, are still deep in the Great Recession of the European Union.

Click for large image at The Wall Street Journal.

Capacity Utilization and GDP (Graph forwarded by John O'Donnell, No URL provided)



Other Economics and Business Items of Note and Miscellanea

Even though some environmentalists represent the liberal fringe – I am pleased to announce to my conservative, evangelical friends that there is an army of educated, intelligent, sane, level thinking, baseball loving, patriotic, apple-pie eating, Bible believing, church attending people who believe in man-made global warming and are committed to lifestyles that will help save the planet.

  • Amartya Sen: The economic consequences of austerity (New Statesman)  Hat tip to Stephanie Kelton.  The judgements of our financial and political leaders are breathtakingly narrow. Nobel Prize-winning economist Amartya Sen considers the alternatives.  He compares the errors of the present day with those following World War I, which bear a disturbing similarity.
  • These Self-Made Billionaires Prove Piketty Wrong about Wealth (Frank Holmes)  Frank Holmes has contributed to GEI.  Frank says that 75% of those on the Forbes 400 Billionaires List are "self-made".  He also gives three examples of those who rose from poverty to make the list.  What is missing from the article that is required to give it meaning is an analysis of the socio-economic background of the other 397.

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